School board honors Rue Ware for service
The Emery County School Board recognized Rue Ware in his last meeting as a school board member. Board president Laurel Johansen presented a plaque to Ware who has been a long time school board member. She said the board has leaned on his knowledge and expertise at many times. "We feel a great loss, but wish you well and we can't express how much we have enjoyed working with you," said Johansen.
Ware thanked the board for their support and he related a story from his days in the United States Air Force.
The other board members expressed their appreciation to Ware and Sam Singleton said the first year he started to teach, then Ware was a senior in high school and he has appreciated working with him over the years.
Castle Dale Mayor Neal Peacock and Emery County Commissioner Drew Sitterud thanked the school board for their efforts in getting the new pool. The school board donated the land and also a part of the costs of the parking lot. The Emery County Aquatics Center had its open house on Dec. 1 and free swim from Dec. 9-13. "We want to thank the school board for their commitment to the pool. We express our gratitude and appreciation," said Peacock. Johansen expressed the board's appreciation for the work of Mayor Peacock and the Emery County Commissioners in bringing the dream of a pool into a reality for the county. "This pool has generated some excitement in the community," said Johansen. The schools plan to bring students to use the pool as part of their physical fitness programs. Emery High will also introduce a swim team to its list of athletic competitions in which the students may participate.
The school board began their regular business. They met with the auditors previously who gave a clean audit report and said Jackie Allred and Jared Black do a marvelous job keeping track of the school district funds.
The board approved a combined junior high dance for the upcoming Christmas dance. The two schools have been having one combined dance a year and decided it has been so successful they would like to expand to two dances per year which are combined. Principal Garth Johnson from San Rafael said the students have been very well behaved and it saves costs by only having to hire one disc jockey for the dance. He feels it is good for the students to meet together in a cooperative situation and not just athletic competitions.
Principal Johnson also informed the board of a trip the San Rafael choir is taking in January for Honor Choir.
The board approved the meeting schedule for 2009. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud submitted the name of Reed Fehlberg for the assistant coach for wrestling at Emery High. The board approved Fehlberg.
There were a number of policy additions and revisions which the board approved. The district introduced a new cell phone policy. Teachers are not allowed to use cell phones during school, only during lunch and breaks. No school bus driver is allowed to operate a school bus while talking on the cell phone including head set devices. They must be fully stopped and in a safe area before being allowed to use a cell phone.
The board approved a new policy on bullying and consequences for this action. There were several support staff policies approved. Another policy is on the sale of food from vending machines. The state office of education has placed new guidelines concerning vending machines. Superintendent Sitterud reported the school district is looking for a balance. Non-nutritious foods must be limited to 40 percent of the selections and 60 percent of the selections must be healthy and nutritious. This new policy applies to only sales during school hours. It doesn't apply to concessions sold at ball games and activities.
Another policy was concerning the definition of a temporary employee, these would be substitutes who come in on a temporary basis. An at-will employee is someone who works less than 20 hours per week. They also changed the policy to read employment period and not contract.
The board also reviewed the employee evaluation program and approved the changes.
Brian Dawes is the principal at Ferron Elementary where the board meeting was held. He reported that Ferron Elementary had met Adequate Yearly Progress and they have been able to raise the test scores of the special needs students.
The school has been emphasizing reading with third and fourth graders. They are breaking them into small groups and helping the students. The aides are energized as they work with the students and see the progress they make as additional instruction is provided based upon each student's learning needs.
Another part of the program is an evaluation day where Dawes works with the teachers to evaluate each student in the program and see where any adjustments need to be made.
Dawes expressed appreciation for the new counselor in the district who has been a big help in dealing with discipline issues. The counselor Amy Bell has helped the teachers with teaching social skills and strategies to use with disruptive students which has helped tremendously. Students who have previously been disruptive are now doing better.
Dawes thanked the school board for the needed improvements on the electrical system at Ferron Elementary. They are now able to plug in their new electronic equipment like smart boards and projectors. Ferron Elementary has two new teachers this year Audrey Winn and Alesha Burr. Audrey is a recent graduate of Utah Valley State University and Alesha is a 22 year teaching veteran from the Jordan School District. These new teachers have developed a great rapport with the students and their classes are doing well. Ferron Elementary is losing two aides who will need to be replaced. "I am very appreciative of the staff here at Ferron Elementary. It is a delight to come to work and everyone pulls together. It is a wonderful place for young students to learn and grow," said Dawes.
Dawes thanked San Rafael for coming to the school with their seventh graders to do peer tutoring.
Superintendent Sitterud reported budget cuts are coming from the Utah legislature and to be aware of that.
He also reported that the 2008 school year is the first year in 15 years that didn't see an enrollment decline in the number of students in the district. In 2007 there were 2055 students and in 2008 there are 2056 students enrolled.
During the public comments section the basketball coach from San Rafael requested to take the basketball team to a tournament in Payson. The board said they couldn't take action on the item or approve it because it wasn't on the agenda. They suggested to plan ahead next time to allow time to get the item on the agenda and get it approved through the proper channels.